Calhoun also reiterated that it is important to bring stability back to the Huskies basketball program, and he wants to make a statement about his long-term situation as soon as possible.
Calhoun did not attend the Final Four in New Orleans. Instead, he and his wife, Pat, took a long weekend in Amelia Island, Fla. Reached by telephone Monday afternoon, he said they would return to their Connecticut home in time to watch Monday night’s national championship game between Kentucky and Kansas on television.
Calhoun told The New Haven Register on March 22 that “by the time the college basketball season is over, word will be coming out of Storrs about our future. I don’t think there’s any way we can leave ourselves out there.”
On Monday, Calhoun said he plans to meet with UConn president Susan Herbst as well as new athletic director Warde Manuel sometime later this week after the two administrators return from the NCAA women’s Final Four in Denver. Calhoun said those talks would take place in the next couple of days.
He also needs to speak with Lamb and center Andre Drummond, both of whom are exploring the possibilities of entering the NBA Draft.
“It’s not just me,” Calhoun said. “We’ve got to get our kids squared away and see what they want to do. There’s an awful lot of [answers] I’d like to have. We need to get it wrapped up and see what direction everyone is going in a whole bunch of different ways.
“We need to make sure we get on with our recruiting and that’s why I said the end of the basketball season – which is obviously tonight. We have to have some kind of word coming out of UConn.”
Asked if there was any update on Lamb and Drummond, Calhoun said no.
“I think Jeremy is closer [to a decision] than Andre,” Calhoun said. “At one point I think Andre thought he needed another year, which we do too. But that’s a decision he has to make. With Jeremy, all the [NBA] guys I’ve talked to, a lot of them think he would go No. 5 or No. 6. If a guy is going to go No. 5 or No. 6, I have a tough time telling him he can’t go.”
Asked if he thought both players would head to the NBA, Calhoun said, “No, I can’t say that.”
Calhoun said Drummond might have the opportunity to attract the same attention as Anthony Davis, Kentucky’s national player of the year, if he returns to UConn next year.
"I don’t think it makes any difference when Andre leaves,” Calhoun said. “Could he be an Anthony Davis type? Yeah, he could be. He’s not doing that right now, but he could.”
Regarding his own decision, Calhoun still sounds like a coach who wants to return to his team next season. He seemed enthusiastic about the recruiting process even though it has become more difficult with the negative publicity surrounding the program with the possibility of a ban from the 2013 postseason – NCAA and Big East – because of the program’s past poor academic performance.
Junior forward Alex Oriakhi, a key player in UConn’s national championship drive in 2011, already has been granted his release and will transfer to another school. North Carolina, Duke, Missouri and Hofstra are among the possible destinations for Oriahki, who would not have to sit out a season if UConn is ineligible for the NCAA tournament.
In New Orleans, a source from North Carolina said the Tar Heels are extremely interested in talking to Oriakhi but indicated the situation has not progressed much at all.
The UConn coaching staff has continued the recruiting process. Last week, R.J. Evans, a former Norwich Free Academy standout from Salem, Conn., visited UConn. Evans is leaving Holy Cross for his postgraduate season and is considering a transfer to UConn.
Omar Calhoun, UConn’s sole signee to this point, scored 26 points, was 8 of 12 from the field and 10 of 11 from the free-throw line, and was named tournament MVP in the second annual All-American Championship game at Lakefront Arena on Sunday in New Orleans. Calhoun’s East team won 84-72.
“My hard work is paying off,” he told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “Everyone on the court today was a competitor, so it felt good [to be MVP].”
Big man Chris Obekpa, who is being heavily recruited by UConn, scored just one point.
Jim Calhoun also said he was feeling much better, adding that the warm island weather felt good on his back. Calhoun had surgery to relieve his spinal stenosis in February.
Calhoun added that he would be rooting for Kansas in the championship game. “I have a good relationship with [Kansas coach] Bill Self,” Calhoun said.
And, no, Calhoun did not mention Kentucky coach John Calipari.